Secretary General of Qatar National Tourism Council Akbar al-Baker’s comments on granting tourist visas to Egyptians have sparked outrage and widespread criticism in Egypt.
Egyptian political analysts and MPs demanded on Sunday an official apology from the Qatari government.
MP Mustafa Bakri denounced Baker's comments, in which he described Egypt as an “enemy state.”
“We disagree with the Qatari regime, but we don’t disagree with its brotherly people,” Bakri said on his official Twitter account.
“However, when the Secretary General of Qatar’s National Tourism Council describes Egyptians as enemies, this reveals the size of this regime’s hostility to all that is Arab.”
“They have supported terrorism to kill civilians and spread chaos in the region,” Bakri stressed.
Foreign workers make up 1.6 million of Qatar's 2.5 million population. Egyptians in Qatar are estimated at 350,000, making up the largest Arab minority in the Gulf country.
Since June 5, 2017, seven Arab countries have cut ties with Qatar - Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Yemen, Mauritania and the Comoros, accusing it of “supporting terrorism.”
“The Qatari official’s statement reflects an internal sense of hostility against Egypt,” MP Amr Sidqi, the head of the parliamentary Foreign Relations and Aviation Committee, told Asharq Al-Awsat.
He demanded an apology from the Qatari government “for the (shameful) statement against the Egyptian people.”
Mohammed Farouq, an official in the tourism industry, said the number of Egyptian tourists visiting Qatar annually amounts to “zero.”
He pointed out that Egyptians don’t make requests to visit Qatar, which in turn, has stopped issuing tourist visas for Egyptian nationals.
Qatar can’t be classified as a tourist country, Farouq noted, adding that it can’t even be compared to Egypt, UAE or Morocco.